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USMNT star Pulisic makes ‘not easy’ admission at Chelsea as he eyes final flourish

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Christian Pulisic admits that the 2020-21 campaign has “not been easy” for him, but the USMNT star is “feeling very good” at present and looking to finish the season with a flourish.

The United States international has endured a number of untimely injury setbacks at Stamford Bridge, restricting him to just 12 Premier League starts this season.

He has also had to contend with a managerial change, with Thomas Tuchel inheriting the reins from Frank Lampard, but the 22-year-old has earned favour of late and has four goals through his last four appearances for club and country.

What has been said?

After bagging a brace in a 4-1 win over Crystal Palace last time out, Pulisic has told Chelsea’s official website: “Personally I am feeling very good.

“I am happy to be playing and helping the team whichever way I can. It was nice to get on the scoresheet and I am feeling very strong at the moment.

“I am doing my best to take care of myself. I have got to take care of my body and be strong and healthy for all the games.

“It has not been an easy season, there has been a lot of coming in and coming out and injuries, but I’m feeling healthy and strong right now.”

How many games has Pulisic missed through injury?

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A productive debut campaign at Chelsea in 2019-20 saw Pulisic sit out 14 games through injury, with his season ending on a low as he picked up a knock in an FA Cup final defeat to Arsenal.

That ailment delayed his start to the current season, with calf and hamstring problems holding him back.

More muscle issues have been suffered since then and he has sat out a further 14 fixtures this season for various reasons.

The bigger picture

Questions were asked of Pulisic’s future in west London as he scratched around for form, fitness and favour, with moves being mooted to Premier League rivals.

He has, however, worked hard to win a regular role back under Tuchel and appears to have rediscovered a spark.

Chelsea will hope that is the case, with there still plenty left for them to play for.

The Blues are in the process of chasing down a top-four finish in the Premier League, while also establishing a lead in a Champions League quarter-final clash with Porto and readying themselves for an FA Cup semi-final date with Manchester City.

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Westbrook ties Robertson for most NBA triple-doubles all-time

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Russell Westbrook of the Washington Wizards  (Getty Images via AFP)

LOS ANGELES – Washington’s Russell Westbrook notched the 181st triple-double of his career on Saturday, tying Oscar Robertson for the most in NBA history.

Westbrook  matched Robertson with his 10th assist of the night in the third quarter of the Wizards’ game against the Indiana pacers in Indianapolis.

Through three quarters Westbrook had 24 points, 12 rebounds and 10 assists, but the Wizards trailed 101-92.

It’s not the first time Westbrook has etched his name alongside that of Robertson, who played in the NBA from 1960-74.

Westbrook was playing for the Oklahoma City Thunder in 2017 when he broke Robertson’s single-season record with 42 triple-doubles — recording double digits in three major statistical categories in a feat that has become a measuring stick of all-around excellence.

Los Angeles Lakers great Magic Johnson is third on the NBA’s all-time triple-double list with 138 and Jason Kidd is fourth on 107.

Current Lakers superstar LeBron James is the only other active player in the top five with 99 career triple-doubles.

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Raptors cannot wait to get out of Tampa?

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The Toronto Raptors have not exactly gotten the warmest welcome in their temporary home this season. Now it sounds like they are itching to get the heck out of Dodge.

Josh Lewenberg of TSN Sports reported this week that there are Raptors players and other members of the organization who cannot wait to leave Tampa, Fla. They are said to be counting down the days until they can pack their bags, take their families and leave on May 17.

The Raptors have their last regular-season contest on May 16. They are four games out of the play-in tournament zone with five games left, meaning they are all but certain to miss the playoffs and see an early end to their season.

Tampa has played home to the Raptors this year with Toronto unavailable due to COVID-19 restrictions. The partnership has been frosty at best with the Raptors even recently getting booed by the local fans. It is probably safe to say that there will not be any NBA basketball in Tampa after this season.

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Manchester United planning £70m double sale to fund Erling Haaland move – Reports

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Manchester United are hoping to raise funds from player sales to help finance a move for Borussia Dortmund star Erling Haaland.

According to We All Follow United via Express, the Red Devils are planning to sell Jesse Lingard and either David de Gea or Dean Henderson, to raise £70m in the summer. The money will then be invested in bringing the Norwegian striker to Old Trafford.

Manchester United have reportedly made Haaland their number one target ahead of the summer, but Dortmund have slapped an astronomical fee on the player. The Norwegian has been on a brilliant run of form since his move to the Bundesliga side. Haaland has scored 47 goals in 48 games since joining Dortmund from RB Leipzig in January of 2020.

Haaland is the target-man Ole Gunnar Solskjaer desires at Old Trafford, even though the player has already rejected Manchester United on two occasions in the past.

However, the Black and Yellows want a fee of over £100m for the Norwegian, which could be a problem for the Red Devils. Interestingly, Haaland’s £70m release clause will only come into effect in the summer of 2022.

Solskjaer has already revealed that Manchester United will not be able to spend freely in the transfer market due to the financial repercussions of the COVID-19 pandemic. As such, the Red Devils are planning to raise funds from the sales of Jesse Lingard and one of their goalkeepers.

The Englishman has impressed while on loan with West Ham United and could be allowed to leave for around £20m. The Hammers are reportedly desperate to sign the player on a permanent deal, which will work in Manchester United’s favor.

The Red Devils could also sell one of De Gea and Henderson in the summer, with the Englishman currently valued at £50m. Paul Pogba could also be allowed to leave unless he signs a contract extension at the end of the season. Manchester United, however, are eager to retain the Frenchman.

Funds raised from player sales will help the Red Devils compete with the likes of Manchester City and Chelsea, who are also monitoring Haaland.

Manchester United want to end the season on a high note

Erling Haaland
Erling Haaland

Manchester United are currently second in the Premier League and are also in the final of the UEFA Europa League final, where they will face Villarreal on 26 May. The Red Devils have five games remaining in the Premier League and will want to end the season on a high nite despite their congested fixture list.

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